Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade ‘concerned’ about money being a factor in Heat Big Three’s free agent decision


The Heat’s star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are doing their best to avoid talking about next summer’s free agent decision that all three players will be faced with, but inevitably, the questions keep coming, and so do some answers.

When they signed their Miami contracts in 2010, the group all sacrificed a small amount financially, and all structured their deals to include the ability to opt out following the 2013-14 season.

Bosh said recently that whether or not the Heat win a third straight title will go a long way in determining whether everyone comes back for up to two more seasons. But Wade realizes that with the new, stricter salary cap and luxury tax penalties that are in place, money could potentially be just as big a factor in everyone’s decision.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

In another private moment, Wade acknowledged hearing the muted talk of how he, James and Bosh would need to compromise in their next Heat contracts for there to be another round of Big Three possibilities starting in 2014-15.

“You’re concerned,” Wade said of money weighing into the equation as much as championship possibilities. “That’s obviously an important part of the puzzle. So, that’s something that we leave to our agents, we leave to the Miami Heat front office to see what they can present us, how creative they can be. We understand it’s not as easy as it was in 2010 when we signed.”

The Heat are already making roster decisions based on finances — Mike Miller, a member of the championship teams of the last two seasons, was waived this summer using the amnesty provision in a move that saved the club in the neighborhood of $17 million in total costs.

James and Bosh would both command max contracts on the open market if they went the free agency route, and Wade will likely get a couple more years added onto his deal to stay in Miami if he so chooses.

All three players could simply do nothing next summer, and earn around $42 million each over the next two seasons. What’s more likely, however, is that everyone opts out — either to sign long-term deals to stay in Miami, or to go their separate ways.

Ty Lawson implies Chris Paul isn’t elite

Chris Paul, Ty Lawson

Whenever I’ve written about Chris Paul being an elite point guard, someone will write:

How can he be elite if he has never reached even the conference finals?

That internet commenter might be Ty Lawson.

Lawson, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

“I don’t think you’ve ever seen so many good point guards in one conference at one time in the league ever,” Lawson told Yahoo Sports. “But you’ve got to win. If you want to be an elite PG in this league, you’ve got to win. You’ve got to be in the conference finals, the NBA Finals. If you’re not winning, you’ll always be a second-tier, or third-tier point guard.”

Lawson doesn’t name Paul, and I’m not even sure Lawson realized his criteria for being elite eliminated Paul.

But that’s part of the reason it’s such a dumb argument.

Playoff success is a team accomplishment. Sure, it’s influenced by individuals. But, as good as Paul is, he can’t singlehandedly take a team to the conference finals – especially not in the loaded Western Conference.

Paul’s résumé would be more impressive if he’d had more playoff success, but a lack of it doesn’t invalidate his other accomplishments. I’m not sure how anyone could watch Paul play repeatedly and not think he’s elite.

Report: Willie Cauley-Stein out of shape

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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How will the Kings fit DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein into their rotation – especially when Rudy Gay should get minutes at power forward?

The problem might take care of itself.

James Ham of CSN on the Coz and Bru Show:

When you show up to camp and you can’t run up and down the court twice without being so winded you have to pull yourself off the court, then something’s wrong.

This will reopen pre-draft questions about Cauley-Stein’s focus on basketball. But it’s not fair to say a player shouldn’t hold interests outside the sport. Plenty of single-minded players have gotten out of shape, too.

The big worry is that so much of Cauley-Stein’s value comes from his mobility for his size. If he can’t move well, he can’t play.

Cauley-Stein will probably get past this. He’s only a rookie, and there will be many lessons ahead. But for now, it’s a pretty big setback.